She is right that Hollywood is misogynist and that includes gay men in the business. She is right that gay organisations, pundits and public figures are not vocal enough about women’s rights. She is right that we have achieved so many gay rights goals in Western society that it’s time we extended that olive branch to others. She is right that as people who know what it is to have rights withheld from us, we should do more to help those in the same or similar position.
In response to the boycotting of the Beverley Hills Hotel by gay groups after it was bought by a company responsible for managing investments of the Sultan of Brunei, who this year approved the death penalty for homosexuals in his Sultanate, Rose McGowan’s view is that “every gay person should populate that hotel” as an act of protest. That is a view that I respect even though personally I’d rather not give money, however indirectly, to people who would murder me for being who I am. But as individuals we’re entitled to protest in different ways.
If you listen to the podcast in which all the supposed homophobic remarks were made, you’ll notice that the criticisms of both Rose McGowan and Bret Easton Ellis are directed at the hypocrisy of gay organisations, businessmen, pundits and media moguls who condemn Sharia laws towards homosexuality, then accept money from Saudi Arabia or Abu Dhabi to finance their projects, and are silent on issues surrounding Sharia law and its treatment of women. Fair call.
Let me, however, also mention that to talk of the gay community collectively based on gays in the media industries is obviously as misrepresentative of what most gay people think or feel as it would be if you were making generalisations about the opinions of the “heterosexual community”. The highest levels of the media and creative industries exist in a peculiar bubble, and are responsible for as much homophobia and misogyny as any agent in society. It’s also worth noting that gays in the real world are not the ones who sell the women in their lives down the line when they’re not sexually attractive. We’re the ones who look after our mothers and sisters when the straight men in their lives fail miserably. We do, in fact, root for the women we love and admire. There are entertainers out there who would no longer be mentioned in our culture were it not for their gay fan base. And if we are really a ‘community’ then it is only right that we shouldfocus on the issues that are most pertinent to that community, as although we may be satisfied that our rights and dignity are recognised in Europe and North America, most of the world punishes homosexuals legally if not physically. Life sentences, capital punishment. The transvestites on Pride floats McGowan refers to are not only emblematic of the achievements of gay people in America, but the images of them in the media serve as inspiration to LGBTIQ people in parts of the world where such liberation is denied to them.
Let’s also remember that if gays are required to fight for women (and YES they fucking well should), then it is also the duty of women themselves to fight for change. When Miley Cyrus shakes her bottom at a camera (a move which looks embarrassing and desperate when you see it done right in front of you in a nightclub) she is commanding the male gaze, but she is not defying it. Maybe in socially conservative circles it is still shocking to see women break with the strictures of demure behaviour that are expected of women, but outside of those circles it doesn’t look like she’s breaking rules, it looks like she is upholding the tradition of the objectification women. And she’s not alone of course: Nicki Minaj and THAT album cover, Beyoncé’s ‘surf board’ antics, Paloma Faith stripped down to her pants and writhing around on a bed, Mariah Carey flashing her knickers at Miguel (who can literally read her lips), or even Gaga’s disappointing arse shot for “Do What U Want”. Women should be proud of their bodies, whatever shape, size or colour they are. But if the flagrantly sexualized marketing of the female body in conformity with the misogynist heterosexual traditions of porn magazines and movies is what you call liberation, when the same demands are NEVER made of men, then I’m not sure what I as a member of the so-called ‘gay community’ is meant to be fighting for. As a gay man who LOVES women, as someone who proudly sits somewhere on the MTF transgender spectrum, as a feminist who believes that women’s liberation is not a case of women taking command of the slave trade of female objectification but in fact is a case of them taking command and abolishing it, I am prepared to fight for women. But until women will do that, I can’t entirely accept that that the ‘gay community’ that I suppose I must be part of in some way deserves to be the main target of criticism.
But let’s be clear, Rose McGowan is NO homophobe for calling out the gay hypocrites in her circle, the cases she makes are solid tight, and her indictment is mostly justified. Also, her history of LGBTIQ activism should afford her the courtesy of being heard without prejudice. As a ‘gay community’ we demand that respect of others, and we should grant it to others too.
LISTEN TO THE SOURCE OF ALL THE NEGATIVE QUOTATIONS, HER PODCAST INTERVIEW WITH BRET EASTON ELLIS: http://podcastone.com/Bret-Easton-Ellis-Podcast
IF YOU CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO LISTEN TO THE WHOLE THING THEN YOU DON’T HAVE A RIGHT TO MAKE JUDGEMENTS.